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The Obama administration has been unable to restore the 8.4m jobs lost since the recession began a year before the president's election. Charles Dharapak/AP
Double Dip?

US unemployment jumps by twice the expected rate

Ireland isn’t the only one with a major jobs crisis.

131,000 jobs were lost in the United States in July – more than double the amount anticipated by the government and local economists.

The fall – which has been largely attributed to the government laying off its 143,000 temporary staff who had been carrying out the latest census – is a sign that recovery in the world’s largest economy will be a lot slower than first assumed.

What’s more, the government revised the jobs lost in June from its initial estimate of 125,000 to a reported 221,000.

There were 59,000 public sector job losses over the month aside from census staff, and the rise in private sector employment of 71,000 was not enough to offset the damage elsewhere.

Even this increase was short of expectations: 90,000 jobs had been expected, according to a Bloomberg survey.

8.4 million jobs have been lost since the recession began at the end of December 2007, a year before Barack Obama took office as president.

The new stats mean that the while the govenrment has added an average of 100,000 jobs a month so far this year, it’s nowhere near enough to drag down the level of unemployment in the country.

While it is difficult to say just yet whether the new figures represent a slowdown in the recovery or the potential beginning of a further economic slide, the fact that 45% of unemployed workers have now been without work for six months suggests that making a significant dent in the trend will be difficult.

GDP growth in the second quarter also slowed down, at 2.4% compared to 3.7% in the first three months of the year – and while consecutive growth ensures that the recession is officially over, the slowdown in growth from 5.6% in the fourth quarter of last year suggests tough times ahead.

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